The Filipino worker who has served among the longest at King Saud University as an administrative secretary and quality standard coordinator for over 20 years is a Mindanaoan, who at childhood would bravely cross islands by boat and alluvial plains on foot with his brother during summertime to collect coconut shells and make them into charcoal.
Coming from one of the minority tribes in Mindanao known as the people of the current, Hasim Salih Mammah conscientiously turned around an imminent tide of deprivation into waves of success in his various personal and professional engagements.
“I was raised by a disciplinarian teacher-mother and a business-trader father to value hard work, independence, and concern and respect for others at an early age. Joining reach-out activities in Mindanao’s most impoverish communities at teen age, and eventually awarded as among one of the best scouts by the Boy Scout of the Philippines in Zamboanga City boosted my interest to make a difference in life,” says Hasim.
Hasim was 18 years old and recuperating from the demise of his father when he found himself driving tamaraw jeepney along unpaved roads in outskirts of Zamboanga City to sustain his schooling at the Western Mindanao State University. He was a relentless working student throughout college, finishing a degree in Political Science.
The young man who dared to twist his fate in Metro Manila selling books and reading materials in offices and homes eventually landed a job in Riyadh as a salesman and one of the pioneering employees of a company that would become today’s top retail franchise company carrying more than 80 of the world’s best-known retail brands across global markets.
“Hard work and work-focus were my weapons to build the trust of my superiors,” Hasim relates as he reminisced growing his career from being a salesman to becoming a retail supervisor and sales advisor. His two years of exposure in marketing top brands have built up in himself an incredible global market knowledge and marketing strategies.
An Epitome of Filipino Resiliency
When not at work during weekend, Hasim would delight his close Filipino friends in Riyadh with his Asian recipes that he casually prepared for their various special occasions. “I cooked 100 percent Halal in the variety of my Asian menus.” Hasim’s catering service, though limited to the Filipino community, was handled with quality standards.
Having had received a certification program with the Associate Chartered Quality Institute (ACQI) made Hasim very meticulous in his service detail. The significant learning he has accrued from his university research works on “Academic Quality Management” manifested in the way he manages his professional works and personal ventures.
Hasim became an epitome of Filipino resiliency when he dared break through the Japanese food business industry in Saudi Arabia. In 2012, about 12 years after a decade-long season of servicing the Filipino community with his home-based 100 percent Halal Asian food catering business, Hasim decided to learn the trade of food service. “I went to various places to learn the food service trade — attending conferences and food expo in Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.” In his unyielding pursuit of more knowledge in food service, Hasim met a Filipino who has a lengthy experience as a Japanese chef.
Hasim manages the Samurai Japanese Cuisine Restaurant in Riyadh since 2013. The restaurant that employs mostly Filipino OFWs has been enjoying excellent reviews among multi-racial customers and Japanese food fanatics in the city.
“It is amazing that Japan, which has mere .05% Muslim population, enjoys numerous Japanese Halal eateries spread across all its cities and provinces. It is sad though that the Philippines has 11% Muslim population and yet has no Japanese Halal restaurant found anywhere across the country,” reveals Hasim.
“It is this reality that prompted me to bring to the Philippines the first 100 percent Halal Japanese restaurant, called Samurai Halal Express.”
Innovative and Authentic Taste at Samurai Halal Express
Located at a prime area in the Food Court of Terminal-3 in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Samurai Halal Express is a cozy eatery for Muslims and non-Muslims who love Japanese cuisine.
Strictly using imported Halal meat and chicken and halal-authenticated ingredients, the first Halal Japanese restaurant in the Philippines is proudly manned by a Filipino sushi chef who has mastered the artistry of Japanese cuisine.
On top of the regular Japanese cuisine selections, the Samurai Halal Express unveils several innovative menus, such as the country’s first new ramen in a bowl with choices of seafood, chicken and beef ramen — all in authentic taste.
“Everything is made to order with the freshest ingredients, making sure that every dish is prepared from scratch, and is cooked separately with secret flavor,” claims its Sushi chef.
Samurai’s tempura and furai (fried shrimp) are hand-picked and nicely coated with utmost care. Customers are free to watch Samurai’s show kitchen. Customers can see the preparation of sushi side and food orders as they are done the traditional way — with not much fusion except for its authentic ingredients. Children who love sushi will surely bask in its beef and chicken roll designed with the fancy look.
Samurai Halal Express is said to be a “market tester” that will soon become a model for expansion to other places in the Philippines.
Like the daring young boy who wandered places to collect coconut shells to produce charcoal and who drove tamaraw jeepney around outskirts of Zamboanga City, and went far to work abroad and acquired quality international experience and education, the man of current will soon take Samurai Halal Express to the hearts of the Filipinos.